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New planning underway for high-speed north-south railway

Released at: 22:55, 13/09/2016

New planning underway for high-speed north-south railway

Photo: vneconomy

Transport Ministry to submit plan to government by 2018 for NA approval by 2020, with construction to be completed by 2050.

by Tue Lam

The Ministry of Transport is preparing a comprehensive development plan for the high-speed north-south railway line, for submission to the government in 2018.

If approved by the National Assembly (NA) the line will be completed in 2050, Deputy Minister of Transport Nguyen Ngoc Dong told a meeting of the NA Standing Committee on September 12.

The plan is included in the master plan for the development of Vietnam’s railways. “In 2018 the ministry will submit the plan to the government and then to the NA for approval before 2020,” he said.

A stretch from Ho Chi Minh City to Long Thanh in Dong Nai province will be built as a pilot program and then a stretch from Hanoi to Vinh. After 2030 the Hanoi to Da Nang and Ho Chi Minh City to Da Nang sections will be built. “Construction will be completed and both sections connected in 2050,” the Deputy Ministry said.

While agreeing with the plan to develop a high-speed north-south railway, Deputy NA Chairwoman Tong Thi Phong has expressed concerns about investment sources and the competitiveness of the railway line with other forms of transport.

Chairman of the Economic Affairs Committee, Vu Hong Thanh, pointed out that for many years the railway sector has failed to attract investment from private enterprises while investments from the State remain limited.

Previous plans to develop the $56 billion high-speed railway have not been approved by NA due to cost.

In 2015 the government approved the development strategy for Vietnam’s railway transport to 2020 and vision to 2050, targeting the development of railway infrastructure and the high-level management of transport and services.

Under this strategy the railway sector targets accounting for about 1-2 per cent of the passenger transport market and 1-3 per cent of cargo transport by 2020. It also aims to capture 4-5 per cent of the urban passenger transport market in major cities such as Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.

Existing railway lines are to be upgraded, with priority given to modernizing the north-south line to increase the average speed to 80-90 km/h for passenger trains and 50-60 km/h for goods trains and improving transport capacity and quality.

The railway sector will also focus on upgrading key railway stations and those catering to large numbers passengers and gradually removing all level crossings.

A 1.435-mm gauge high-speed dual track on the north-south line is to be built and necessary preparations made for the construction of sections with high transport demand, especially those in regions such as Hanoi-Vinh and Ho Chi Minh City-Nha Trang.

From 2020 to 2030 the strategy targets accounting for 3-4 per cent of the passenger transport market and 4-5 per cent of goods transport and 15-20 per cent of urban passenger transport in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.

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